Olga and I took a little detour to visit the confluence point of S33 W69 on our way back from Mendoza to Santiago. Mendoza wines are known well outside Argentina and for that reason we could not resist taking a trip to Mendoza and its wineries since Mendoza is only six hours from Santiago by car. And as a bonus, you get to see the breathtaking scenery of the Andes.
S33 W69 is easily reachable from Mendoza by car. We took B82, the main road leading to Cacheuta, the local hot springs resort. About 23 km from the Mendoza city centre on B82, we entered the village of Las Compuertas. Just before a bridge over what looked like a dry river bed, we saw the sign “Bienvenidos Cabalgatas Kahuak” and turned right onto an unpaved road leading north. In 2 km, the road crossed the dry river bed. We continued on the same road now leading in the northwest direction for another 2.7 km. When we stopped, the confluence point appeared to be about 100 m away from us.
November is spring in Argentina and the thorny bushes around us were blossoming with small yellow flowers. Trying to keep away from the bushes, we passed by a few colonies of giant cacti. At one of those colonies, Olga refused to go any further and sat to watch me run around the bushes trying to catch the zeros on my GPS. It turned out to be anything but easy due to the fluctuating GPS readings. After a few minutes of running and a few minor scratches, I captured the desired zeros and returned to take Olga back to the car.
As we were getting in the car, two gauchos passed by. We exchanged the usual "Hola" with them. Apparently, the horse riders were going to Kahuak Aventura, a horseback riding ranch on the foothills of the Andes.
If you are visiting Mendoza by car, taking the confluence point of S33 W69 can be a nice bonus adventure requiring no more than three hours if you are planning to return to the city. Although, in rainy weather driving along the dirt road leading to the confluence point may be difficult and you need to have proper shoes to walk in the Andes. Note you have to return to Mendoza to get to the highway 7 leading to Santiago. There is no shortcut to the highway 7 from Las Compuertas.